Shattering Glass

Shattering Glass

4.4 82
by Gail Giles
     
 

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"Simon Glass was easy to hate. . . . I guess, really we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn't realize it until the day we killed him."
Fat, clumsy Simon Glass is a nerd, a loser who occupies the lowest rung on the high school social ladder. Everyone picks on him—until Rob Haynes shows up. Rob, a transfer student with charisma to spare

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Overview

"Simon Glass was easy to hate. . . . I guess, really we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn't realize it until the day we killed him."
Fat, clumsy Simon Glass is a nerd, a loser who occupies the lowest rung on the high school social ladder. Everyone picks on him—until Rob Haynes shows up. Rob, a transfer student with charisma to spare, immediately becomes the undisputed leader of the senior class. And he has plans for Simon.
Rob enlists the help of his crew—wealthy, intellectual Young, ladies' man Bob, and sweet, athletic Coop—in a mission: turn sniveling Simon from total freak to would-be prom king. But as Simon rises to the top of the social ranks, he shows a new confidence and a devious side that power-hungry Rob did not anticipate. And when Simon uncovers a dangerous secret, events darken. The result is disquieting, bone-chilling . . . and brutal.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An out-of-state transfer student ascends to alpha male, and his high school clique's plan to make over a social outcast go tragically awry, in what PW called "a suspenseful, disturbing novel." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
This is an intriguing and at times painfully real story of the world of boys in a contemporary American high school that should be owned by every high school library. The boys in the novel work to meet the expectations of their parents, their school, their peers and themselves, and they quickly find themselves in far over their heads. One day, the head of the "popular boy" group at school decides to turn Simon Glass, the quintessential pocket protector nerd, into "class favorite," meanwhile dethroning the ever-popular captain of the football team. His friends go along with the ruse, teaching Simon about the ins and outs of high school stardom and showmanship. Soon, however, the boys find that Simon is savvier than he first appeared, and they are in far deeper than they'd ever imagined. This is a captivating story of privilege, belonging and rank in high school, and should be well received by both girls and boys in high school. The author uses the interesting device of including quotes at the beginning of each chapter that foreshadow events at the end. This technique will capture the interest of even the most reluctant reader, because the clues definitely build the suspense and predict the final tragedy. KLIATT Codes: JS*; Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2002, Simon & Schuster, 215p.,
— Sarah Applegate
VOYA
By the end of the first paragraph, readers know that Simon Glass was easy to hate and that eventually he was killed. It takes the rest of the book to find out who killed him and why. Told in the different voices of students, teachers, counselors, and law-enforcement officers, the story unfolds little by little until the explosive climax. The reader soon realizes that the narrator of the story, Young, was one of Simon's classmates and is in prison for killing him, but it does not seem possible given the manner in which Young's character is portrayed. It soon becomes clear that Rob, Young's friend and unofficial group leader, is a master manipulator, pulling the strings of all the characters, influencing their actions to fulfill his master plan. In the early pages of the book, the language used by the students, the way they talk to and refer to each other might not seem authentic. After that initial reaction, though, as the suspense begins to build, readers will find it hard to put down the book. Robert Cormier's recent The Rag and Bone Shop (Delacorte Press, 2001/VOYA October 2001) explores the question of how a person can be influenced to do something that they ordinarily would not do. Although the plots of the two books are dissimilar, Giles's novel is also a chilling portrayal of manipulation leading to tragic consequences. Teens in upper middle school and high school will relate to the characters and, sadly, to some of the events in this book. PLB
— Linda Roberts
Children's Literature
This dark and suspense-filled teen drama introduces us to Simon Glass, who is a world-class school nerd. Rob, Mr. Charisma, is out to turn Simon into Prince Charming by the end of the year. And it looks like he just might pull off the feat. The narrator, Young Steward, has fallen under Rob's spell and finds himself a pawn in Rob's game. Though he feels a personal repulsion toward Simon, Young goes along with Rob's plans, even sacrificing his own girlfriend in the process. What makes this novel fascinating is that the author lets us know at the outset that something tragic is going to result, but keeps us guessing as to the form the tragedy will take. Each chapter is preceded by a quotation from one of the characters that deftly foreshadows oncoming doom. The device works to perfection, catapulting this novel above those in the mainstream. The disturbingly violent yet satisfying climax lives up to the hype. Gail Giles is an author worth watching.
—Christopher Moning
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Gail Giles' debut young adult novel (Millbrook, 2002) makes a searing audio production as read by Scott Brick. His cold, calculating delivery style raises the tension on this already tense story about an in-group of high school seniors led by a true sociopath. Listeners can tell from an early scene involving torture of a laboratory animal that Rob means the most chilling sort of trouble for Simon Glass, class misfit. The story's narrator, Young Steward, a member of the clique, makes clear the grip Rob has on all his friends and focuses on his implacable intention to re-make Simon for purposes of his own. The violent frenzy Rob orchestrates ends in Simon's death after he shows signs of self-confidence that Rob can't allow. With a constant edge in his voice, Brick never lets up as he relates this riveting story. One somewhat problematic factor is the series of quotes from classmates and adults that introduce each chapter. As read, they are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the actual chapter narrative, leading to momentary confusion. The cover includes a list of chapters contained on each side of the tapes, a nice feature for finding a place in the text version. Reminiscent of Lord of the Flies, this is a story with mature themes focusing on the darkest side of human nature but in the most chillingly realistic of modern settings. The compelling writing is enhanced with convincing narration, but its intensity may give pause for thought.-Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A grimly comic debut novel revisits the dark hell of high-school cliques. The ruling posse at BrazosVale High includes the usual suspects: rich, well-connected "Young" Steward; smooth stud "the Bobster" DeMarco; dumb jock "Coop" Cooper; and the exquisitely cool and charismatic alpha male, Rob Haynes. As a demonstration of power, Rob decides to elevate the school outcast, dweeby Simon Glass, to the heights of popularity. While Simon seems pathetically eager for any crumb of attention, he eventually reveals an agenda all his own. As Simon exposes their hidden vulnerabilities, the agents of Rob's whims explode into shocking violence. While grownups might cavil at the ubiquitous adult cruelty and cluelessness, most teens will nod with recognition at the adolescent characters. Giles skates the fine edge of stereotyping, but manages to give his characters authentic voices; the narrator Young is particularly well realized, with his sardonic wit, his artist's sensitivity, and his tightly wrapped rage. As much provocateur as victim, Simon subtly goads the reader into compliance with his eventual murder. Even though the denouement is known almost from the outset-Young is sent to prison for the crime-this narrative device actually heightens tension as the reader struggles against its awful inevitability. Most intriguing are the quotes heading each chapter, revealing the perspectives of the characters five years later, and which raise questions of justice, mercy, and individual responsibility. A sure-fire hit for book discussion groups, from a writer to watch. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

“A grimly comic debut novel . . . a surefire hit.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The pacing is superb, and the story's twists are unexpected and disquieting.” —Booklist, starred review

“Pulls readers in with an ironic, breezy portrait of sinister high school competitiveness. Deft and extraordinarily accomplished.” —Michael Cadnum, National Book Award Finalist for The Book of the Lion

“[A] suspenseful, disturbing debut novel . . . the thriller plot and breakneck pacing will keep readers hooked and on the lookout for the author's next book.” —Publishers Weekly

“An irresistible story. Gail Giles's high school characters play at Pygmalion, but they must answer to Frankenstein.” —Edward Bloom, author of Tangerine and Crusader

“The plot is fast-paced and compelling and there is power in the brewing violence and shocking end; the language is raw and the behavior is brutal.” —School Library Journal

“[A] taut and dark drama of murder and cupability that recalls Killing Mr. Griffin . . . a dark and edgy page-turner.” —Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

“Shattering Glass is a dark, finely crafted, on-the-money coming-of-age suspense story. From page one, I felt myself being pulled to its grim conclusion by a very fine storyteller. This novel will be around for awhile.” —Chris Crutcher, author of Staying Fat for Sarah Brynes and Whale Talk

“* A grimly comic debut novel revisits the dark hell of high-school cliques. The ruling posse at BrazosVale High includes the usual suspects; rich, well-connected "Young" Steward; smooth stud "the Bobster" DeMarco; dumb jock "Coop" Cooper; and the exquisitely cool and charismatic alpha male, Rob Haynes. As a demonstration of power, Rob decides to elevate the school outcast, dweeby Simon Glass, to the heights of popularity. While Simon seems pathetically eager for any crumb of attention, he eventually reveals an agenda all his own. As Simon exposes their hidden vulnerabilities, the agents of Rob's whims explode into shocking violence. While grownups might cavil at the ubiquitous adult cruelty and cluelessness, most teens will nod with recognition at the adolescent characters. Giles skates the fine edge of stereotyping, but manages to give her characters authentic voices; the narrator Young is particularly well realized, with his sardonic wit, his artist's sensitivity, and his tightly wrapped rage. As much provocateur as victim, Simon subtly goads the reader into compliance with his eventual murder. Even though the denouement is known almost from the outset--Young is sent to prison for the crime--this narrative device actually heightens tension as the reader struggles against its awful inevitability. Most intriguing are the quotes heading each chapter, revealing the perspectives of the characters five years later, and which raise questions of justice, mercy, and individual responsibility. A sure-fire hit for book discussion groups, from a writer to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“This is a taut and dark drama of murder and culpability that recalls Killing Mr. Griffin. . . . This has many curricular possibilities, but it'll probably be most satisfying as a dark and edgy page-turner.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“* The tension-filled story's narrator is Young Steward, a member of the cool group run by Rob Haynes, a student who transferred in and immediately took over with a wide-reaching power. Rob manages to transform Simon, the class nerd--and transform his classmates' attitude toward Simon--with the finesse of Svengali. But Simon is not content with his newfound popularity. He begins collecting information about his benefactors, and the secrets he learns about them, especially Rob and his devastating past, come out in a horrifyingly realistic scene in which the boys beat Simon to death. This first novel has flaws. Some of the adults are caricatures, and if you look too closely at the plot, you'll find cracks in places. But the pacing is superb, and the story's twists are unexpected and disquieting. Heading the chapters are the comments of those involved, five years after the event. This conceit extends the story and will keep readers wondering. Fans of Nancy Werlin's books will appreciate this one; it's a page-turner.” —Booklist, starred review

“In this suspenseful, disturbing debut novel, a high school clique's plans to make over a social outcast go tragically awry. Quotes at the opening of each chapter foretell the disaster to come. Thaddeus R. Steward IV, nicknamed "Young," who is an aspiring writer, narrates the tale. As it opens, Rob Haynes, an out-of-state transfer student with good looks and seemingly unshakable confidence, quickly ascends to alpha male, ousting reigning king of popularity, Lance Ansley. But, as Lance puts it, "[Rob] wasn't happy to have it all, he had to make sure I didn't have anything." By contrast, Rob wants to position Simon Glass, a "textbook geek," so that his peers will vote Simon "Class Favorite." Simon appears to go along with the new clothes and haircut, but he has some ideas of his own. When Simon and Young discover a secret about Rob's past, one of them seeks to use it, the other to protect it. Unfortunately, the novel follows so many characters that readers do not get to know any one of them well. Ronna, Young's girlfriend, provides the most insightful commentary; speaking of Rob's plan to transform Simon, she says, "Instead of making Rob more, doesn't it just make all of us... less?" Such probing questions are overshadowed by the novel's larger events and the sheer number of characters. Still, the thriller plot and breakneck pacing will keep readers hooked and on the lookout for this author's next book.” —Publishers Weekly

“In this dark novel, Simon Glass is a clumsy nerd who learns the horror of high school cliques. Rob, the leader of the shallow group of bullies who entertain themselves at Simon's expense, decides to turn the frog into a prince. There is no altruistic motive for this plan as Rob takes on the role of puppet master and the others offer to help with the transformation. They teach Simon to drive, take him shopping for clothes, and put him on a diet and exercise regimen. The plan goes awry as Simon gains self-confidence, becoming more popular than Rob, and begins some manipulating of his own. Quotes from classmates and adults before each chapter build suspense by foreshadowing a tragedy that is looming. The narrator, Young Stewart, is as caught up in the game as the rest of the group as long as it serves his needs. He enlists Simon's help in hacking into the school's computer system but stands by as his friends club Simon to death with a bat in the school gymnasium. The plot is fast-paced and compelling and there is power in the brewing violence and shocking end; the language is raw and the behavior is brutal.” —School Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761326014
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
03/15/2002
Series:
The Roman Mysteries Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.44(h) x 0.89(d)
Lexile:
590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author


Gail Giles has written many acclaimed YA novels, including Shattering Glass and Dead Girls Don't Write Letters. A native Texan, Gail has lived in Chicago and Alaska. She is now living back in Texas with her husband, two dogs, and three cats.

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Shattering Glass 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 82 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simon Glass is a chubby, awkward nerd who everyone hates. He is always being made fun of by the other students. Things change when a new student, Rob Haynes comes around. Rob wants to turn Simon into the popular ¿prom king¿. With the help of Young, Bob, and Coop, other boys at school, Simon rises to the top of all the social classes. He begins to have complete confidence in himself, makes many new friends, and approaches good opportunities that he never would of had before. The other boys start to become jealous over Simon. However, he unravels a personality that no one expected. For example, he hacks the school computers to change personal information of others. With all of the self-happiness and confidence, he discovers a dark, and brutal secret that changes everything. Shattering Glass would receive five stars, and everyone will love it! Readers can¿t put it down. This book had many new twists and surprises that kept getting better. The whole concept of turning a nerd, into the most popular guy at school was very interesting and entertaining to read. It also changes the way you may think of other social classes. At the end of the book, the final secret was very surprising and suspenseful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many good books but never have I liked a book so much where I wrote a review on my own time. This book just might be one of the best books I have ever read. I told my sister and cousin about this book. Very well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gail Giles is a great author. She has such a way of foreshadowing that makes you curious and on the edge of your seat. She also makes the characters relatable. Shattering Glass is a great realistic fiction book that tells how power can become unmanageable when used by  someone who is immoral and/or immature. The story is told through the perspective of a high school boy named Young. Simon Glass is  one of the main characters who is the school wide pinata. Simon is always being made fun of and teased because he is chubby and smart. But Rob, Young's friend and one of the most attractive and popular boys, wants to turn Simon around and make him the most  popular kid in school. Robs plan works wonderfully until everything goes horribly wrong at the end. After reading this book, you will want to  re-assess your friends. Young couldn't have been more right when he said "Simon Glass was easy to hate. I never knew exactly why, there was just too much to pick from. I guess, really, we each hated him for a different reason, but we didn't realize it until the day we killed him."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! It totally kept me on my toes. The ending omg!! I'm not going to ruin it for the ppl that will read this so i am just going to say its a must read!! GET THE BOOK!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
hailey_transou More than 1 year ago
Simon Glass is a chubby kid that everyone hates in high school. He's made fun of everyday by other students. But then Rob comes and helps change Simons look and Bob,Lance, and Coop help Rob make this happen. But when Simon becomes cool and people begin to  like Simon, Rob gets jealous because people are begininng to like Simon. Simon begins to fell confinidente with himself and makes  more friends that he thought would never happen. Simon has a dark secret that changes everything and the group of boys made a  mistake that they didn't think that they thought would never happen. 
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Audrey-Everett More than 1 year ago
While in my English class, we chose to read this fiction novel. I didn't really comprehend most of it because of all my absences. But all i really know is that Simon Glass was a nerd who was fat and clumsy. He was somewhat a loser and everybody hated him. Everybody picks on him, until Rob Haynes shows up. Rob was a transfer student and became popular in the school, and decided to help Simon out... or rather have other plans for him... (HINT: somebody gets murdered!) (this story was okay, but not as the usual of the others i recommended for you.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was remarkable! I loved it from beginning to end! I would recommend it to anyone! It is so insightful and very powerful. It can change your views perhaps on social life at school, but overall it is thrilling and you WILL be suprised. I read it a few months ago actually, but it is unforgettable! Gail Giles is genius! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Notjustphysical More than 1 year ago
This book shows glass as one thing but in the end another its sad how it all ends but the ride is fun.
readerteacherlady More than 1 year ago
The beginning of each chapter starts with a police interview with a person who may have had something to do with the crime, which helps unfold different aspects of the story. It bounces from that police interrogation to what happened five years prior, so that part could confuse a reader not expecting it or someone who is not patient/curious enought to figure out what's going on. There is a tough topic for guys that is subtly revealed in this story. It takes a very "typical" teen movie topic (re-making a nerd) and twists it into a psychological thriller. I highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an amazing book. Gail Giles really out did herself on this one. It shows depth, emotion, and voice. It's something you want to read over and over again. I think this book outshines all the other books Gail Giles has written. It's like a romantic, suspenseful, thriller!
CM More than 1 year ago
This book was very intriguing and mysterious. The way this novel was written helped me better undertand and visualize every situation. Eventough the author tells us the ending in the very first paragraph of this novel, it is still very unexpected when it finaly comes. I recomend this book to all audiences. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Could you ever imagine hatig a person so much, that someday you might end up killing him/her?? In the book Shattering Glass by Gail Giles it actually happens. This is a realistic teen fiction novel. Simon Glass is a nerd, a loser and on the the lowest part of the high school social ladder. People pick on him so much-until Rob Haynes shows up. Rob, a transfer student and the senior class leader has plans in store for Simon. Rob gets help from his crew-Young, Coop, Bob with a mission: to turn Simon from freak to would-be Prom King. But Simon rises to the top of his game, showing confidence and a devious side that power hungry Rob doesn't like. And when Simon decides to tell a dangerous secret, events begin to darken. The result is a bone-chiling, unexpected,...brutal ending. I liked the book alot, there is so much suspense. Gail Giles lives in Alaska with her husband, two dogs, three cats, and some wild moose that stay every now and then. The author for Young Adults selection and Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers selection, her books have been nominated both in 2003, in ALA Teens Top Ten selection, for Shattering Glass and Dead Girls Don't Write Letters. Overall, I would give this book an eight out of ten.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a great book! It was very entertaining and suspenseful, eventhough it tells you the end in the first paragraph. It makes you think about your role in life. Make sure you read the blurbs at the beginning of each paragraph, or else you wont get what happens.